Again, bakers threaten to hike prices of bread

Premium Bread Makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN), the umbrella body of bakers in the country has concluded plans to increase the prices of bread for the umpteenth time this year due to the skyrocketing cost of baking materials.

President of the association, Emmanuel Onuorah, said the recent developments in the global market place had not translated into a better operating environment for local bakers.

The planned price hike follows a recent industrial action by the PBAN as well as the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, which culminated in a 15 per cent hike in the price of bread barely two weeks ago.

Onuorah said many of his members had been forced to shut down business operations this year due to the skyrocketing cost of doing business.

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The price of bread is going up again. The Millers just increased prices by N2,000. Sugar refiners increased by N2,000, we had an N10,000 increase in the last two to three weeks.

We are set to increase the prices of our bread again. Preservatives has increased by N2,000 and butter has increased by N2,000, so we have to respond. For us as an industry, our own is garbage in, garbage out. If the price of wheat comes down, certainly we will look at the price of our products and act accordingly,” he assured.

Onuorah appealed to the federal government to open up a forex window for industry players, particularly the flour millers.

This, he said would significantly address the indiscriminate increase in the prices of flour in the market, adding: “When we went on withdrawal of services, flour was N28,500 as of Tuesday, August 9, 2022, it is N30,500,” Onuorah.

It would be recalled that on July 22, 2022, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement to free more than 20 million tons of grain stuck in Ukraine’s Black Seaports, the agreement brokered with support from the United Nations and Turkey, was projected to have major implications on global good security and food prices.

The inability of Ukraine to export grain from its Black Seaports had severally reduced the supply of food to import dependent African and Middle Eastern countries.

Before the war in Ukraine, Ukraine had a breadbasket, providing wheat, maize and barley to countries, throughout Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

A baker, Sunday Ighotemu, who spoke to The Trumpet, also lamented the rapid increase in the price of flour.

According to him, bakers now had to review prices on a weekly basis in order to recoup costs and maintain profit margins, adding: “A bag of flour now sells for N30,000. That was on Friday, August 5, 2022. Who knows if it has increased again by now?

We have to review prices regularly. People don’t want to understand, but we are all in this country and we know what is going on in the economy.

Ighotemu said the bakers were not happy over the regular increase in the price of bread, adding that they also feel the pains of Nigerians and that the constant increase in the price of bread had reduced the demand and sale of the product, as most Nigerians could no longer afford bread.

“PBAN as an association is not happy with the situation in our industry. At the beginning of the year, we didn’t imagine that by early August, the price of bread would have increased for four times, but that is the situation we find ourselves.

“The Russia-Ukraine war and scarcity of foreign exchange (forex) in the last three months have impacted negatively, not only in the bakery sector, but also the entire economy of Nigeria,” Ighotemu said.

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